So, obviously the passage before me this morning won't be utilized by Hallmark on a "just wanting to cheer you up" card! These are hard truths. Yet truth - hard or soft - needs to be said and heard.
Sin has made a mess of things. It has turned the garden paradise into a mourning, withering, fading place. As beautiful as the most beautiful thing in this world is, it is still affected by sin and is no where near as beautiful as it once was and will again be after Christ returns! We live post-fall.
"The earth mourns" - there is sadness and sorrow in the post-fall world. "The earth withers" - there is sickness, death, and dying in the post-fall world. "The world fades" - things don't last instead they wear out in the post-fall world. "The earth itself grows old, so those that dwell in it." (Matthew Henry)
May I say it again, sin has made a mess of things! Why is there mourning? Why do things wither and fade? Because of sin! Hear Isaiah: "for they transgressed laws, violated statutes, broke the everlasting covenant. Therefore, a curse devours the earth, and those who live in it are held guilty."
"The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom 6:23). Death is what we've earned. Eternal life is what we've been freely given by grace through faith in Christ. The wrongs of Isaiah 24 (which began in Genesis 3) have been righted by our Elder Brother, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. "You shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins."
Praise God for Christ! My heart leaps at the very thought of it. In this post-fall world will I ever be able to come close to comprehending the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of God?
I am guilty - Christ has taken my guilt upon Himself and in Him there is therefore now no condemnation for me! Christ - the God/man has come and lived the perfect life I could not live. He has died the horrific death I deserved to die. He has risen victorious from the grave that I might not have to fear the grave. I am deserving of death - Christ has given me life and that life is eternal! God is both just and the justifier!
The things of this sinful, fallen world are fading. Thankfully our immutable, eternal God and His promises are not.
- "In the beginning You laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing You will change them and they will be discarded. But You remian the same, and Your years will never end." (Ps 102:25-27)
- "For I, the LORD, do not change." (Mal 3:6)
- "...the Father of heavenly lights, with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." (Ja 1:17)
- "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of the LORD abides forever." (1 Pe 1:24-25)
This immutable God has mercifully repaired the breach in the covenant that I have broken. Those perpetual curses that are my just wages have been turned into perpetual blessings for me because of Christ's atoning work. What more is there to say?! Only, thank You Lord!
Humbled beyond words,